Samsung takes on Apple at trial over value of phone features

SAN JOSE, California Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:53am BST

1 of 2. Apple attorney Harold McElhinny is shown direct-examining Apple software chief Scott Forstall (R) in the witness stand as U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh (L), looks on, in this court sketch during a the Samsung and Apple trial in San Jose, California, August 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Vicki Behringer

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SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - An Apple Inc expert witness testified on Friday that consumers would be willing to pay $100 for three patented smartphone features that are at issue in its high stakes trial against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

John Hauser, a marketing professor at MIT, said he surveyed consumers over the Internet about how much they would pay for some of the technology in the lawsuit, like scrolling and multitouch. That information could be relevant when calculating potential damages for Apple, which is seeking over $2.5 billion from Samsung.

However, Samsung hammered Hauser on the methodology for his study, and Hauser eventually acknowledged that his results do not necessarily correspond to what customers would actually pay for such technology in the real world.

"This relates to it but it's not it, no," Hauser said.

Apple and Samsung are going toe-to-toe in a patents dispute mirroring a struggle for industry supremacy between two rivals that control more than half of worldwide smartphone sales.

The U.S. company accuses Samsung of copying the design and some features of its iPad and iPhone, and is asking for a sales ban in addition to monetary damages. The Korean company, which is trying to expand in the United States, says Apple infringed some of its key wireless technology patents.

At the close of the second week of trial on Friday in a San Jose, California federal court, Hauser said tablet consumers would also be willing to pay $90 for the same patented features.

Samsung attorney William Price asked Hauser why he didn't tell jurors what consumers would pay for features like additional computer memory on different tablet models. Those could be compared to the real world prices that Apple charges, Price said.

"Wouldn't you want to look in the market and see whether or not this makes sense?" Price said.

Hauser said he was confident in the study's methodology.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, No. 11-1846.

(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Richard Chang)

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